| | | |

Ten home improvement projects I won’t be repeating

So today is my official due date. This baby is fully cooked, I’m horribly uncomfortable, and the doctor said at my appointment on Tuesday that it doesn’t look like this kid is planning to come anytime soon. Darn my comfortable uterus! I was really hoping to have this kid a few days before the due date (like my last pregnancy), but it looks like this pregnancy might be more like my first, when I went until 42 weeks. My oldest’s fifth birthday is on Sunday though and I REALLY don’t want them to share a birthday, so I’m okay with holding onto this kid till next week…but after that it’s going to be lots of walking and spicy food!

Anyway, my last post was about my top ten “must-haves” for the house Adam and I are building. Let me just say, when I ask for opinions, y’all deliver. Thank you for all the insights and suggestions, it’s really helpful. I was also surprised by the amount of people who mentioned outlet placement (I’m going to have to be very thoughtful about that, evidently) and having two dishwashers. I would have never guessed people actually have two dishwashers, but evidently it’s pretty great.

So today I’m looking back at some of the things we did in this house that I won’t be repeating. Some we did because we didn’t have much money to spend and needed a solution, some I just wanted to try something new and creative, and some we just didn’t know any better. I’m not saying I regret all these decisions (some, not most), they worked for this house but aren’t something I would want in our “forever” house.

10 DIY projects I won't be repeating


1. Raw mdf trim

MDF trim

Adam and I have replaced all the trim in our house (except the master bedroom, but we’ll get there) and have learned a lot. We started out in the living room and chose 6 inch raw MDF that we routed ourselves (because money was our biggest concern). We ended up doing this in all the main areas of the house so that they would all match, but in all the other rooms (bedrooms, bathrooms, etc) we switched to plain, pre-primed, pine 1X6’s for trim and they are SO MUCH BETTER. Here are the problems with the raw MDF baseboards…

  1. We routed the edges, and since it’s MDF it came out rough to the touch (this is normal). I started out carefully sanding each and every inch and crevice, but it took for-freaking-ever and I quit and just went ahead and painted them. But they are so rough that when you try to clean them they snag your rag or rip your paper towel and the dust in the roughness just turns into wet mud. It’s a nightmare.
  2. They soak up paint like it’s their job…they took SO LONG to paint. 
  3. They look really beat up really quickly. They peel and ding and soak up water. I seriously hate them with an intense burning passion. (the pine 1×6’s are amazing though).



2. Green (or any intense color) in the main living areas

Domestic Imperfection Living Room

I love the color green, and I love it on my living room walls. I won’t be doing an intense color on the walls of our next main living space though. Why? I feel trapped by it. I don’t know how to decorate around it. The only things that look good with it are brown and white. I feel like by putting a lot of color in our living room, I can’t put color into our living room. Does that make sense? Our white planked walls in the kitchen though? I can do whatever I want in there and it is great.



3. Painted tile

painted shower tiles

I painted the tile in our shower and it is holding up amazing. I don’t regret it and would do it again, in this house, in an instant. In the next house though, painting tile (and other semi-permanent fixes like that, cough*paperflooring*cough) won’t be happening. Not just because were building and won’t need to, even if we bought something to remodel I would rip out and replace the tiles instead. This house was all about remodeling on a budget, the next (which we have no intentions of ever selling) will be more about quality finishes. (Quality finishes on a budget…because money doesn’t grow on trees).



4. Stainless steel appliances

$1600 kitchen remodel

I hesitated on including this (because we are actually likely to get them again), but Adam and I don’t love stainless steel as much as we thought we would. It is always covered in fingerprints, scratches easily, and has water stains. We love the actual appliances, it’s just the stainless steel we aren’t thrilled about. I would actually really help if we got a fridge WITHOUT the ice and water dispenser, that thing just leaks and clogs and since we have hard water the front of the fridge right below it looks terrible. And trust me, I’ve scrubbed it…those stains aren’t going anywhere.



5. Rock landscaping borders

Curb Appeal Before & Progress

When we first bought the house the entire yard was gravel. We have spent years working on the landscaping and it looks a million times better. We put a rock border around all the flower beds and lining the driveway because we have an insane amount of rocks lying around our yard (plus, you know, they’re free), but we wouldn’t do it again. They move around, and the grass grows between the cracks…they’re a ton on maintenance (or at least they should be, but we kinda ignore it). Adam also says they are impossible to weed eat around. We have thought about pulling them all up and curbing the driveway, but that probably won’t happen. I have to say though, the decomposed granite we used for the driveway is great and we would do that again…but only if we curbed the edges to keep everything in place.



6. Crappy lighting

galvanized light from Lowes

This house has terrible lighting, and most of that is my fault. When we remodeled the bathrooms we put a galvanized barn light in each (1, 2). I love these lights, they are cheap and attractive…but they make for terrible bathroom lighting. One harsh light pointing directly down isn’t exactly ideal. Lesson learned. Also, we have ONE source of light in our living room, which is basically an empty bulb from the ceiling fan and the kitchen still has and ugly fluorescent light. It’s fine in the daytime because we have a ton of windows, but at night our house is a dark spotlight-y mess.



7. Butcher block around the sink 

Butcher block counters

I would use butler block again, just not around the sink. I wrote a whole post on this, so if you want to read more GO HERE.



8. Mismatched floors

mismatched flooring

One of our first projects in this house was to rip out the carpet in the living room and main hall and put down wood. I love the wood, no issues there. The problem is that we didn’t have the money to extend it into the bedrooms. Then the kitchen and foyer still have the ugly tan tiles, and the kids and guest room have paper bag floors, and the master still has disgusting old carpet. Nothing flows. In the next house we are putting wood everywhere, living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. The only places not getting wood will be the bathrooms and mudroom/laundry room area (that will be stone tile).



9. Vessel sinks

Large White Vessel Sink

I thought I would like these, but I don’t at all. I don’t know how to explain it other than saying it feels intrusive. It will be drop-in or undermount sinks from here on out.



10. Thick wooden blinds 


Another thing that doesn’t match in our house is the blinds. When we bought the house it didn’t have any blinds (or screens) and I started out by splurging and getting 2 inch wood ones for the living room. They are nice blinds, they look okay and function. But I won’t buy them again. They don’t look like real wood, and they are HEAVY. I never move them up and down because I feel like they are going to break whenever I do. I went the opposite direction in the master bedroom and installed lightweight seagrass type ones, which I don’t love either. Then I wizened up and tried bamboo ones in the dining room, and those are fantastic. They are the perfect weight, look great, offer privacy…I’ll be buying these for the next house.



11. “Useless” wooden decks

simple deck progress

This is actually number 11, but Adam insisted I add it. He never liked the idea of our deck. I always thought we needed something back there besides a giant dirt pit that constant gets tracked inside, and a deck seemed like the best option. I still think it could be great (we haven’t finished it, and it doesn’t have any furniture) but agree that wood decks will never happen again. It already looks terrible, and we used cedar and sealed it. Cement patios all the way.

So there it is, ten (well, eleven) things we won’t repeat in the next house. So now I want to know…what are some home improvement project you’ve done that didn’t turn out as amazing as you’d hoped?


You may also like –

Ten DIY projects I WOULD do again

Double sliding barn doors – the biggest DIY fail ever

Chalk paint fail and the bed that almost killed me



Home Improvement Projects Not Worth Repeating


Similar Posts


  1. I love this list, and agree with a bunch of them (specially the counter top sinks – I never understood the appeal on that one). By the way, if you’re considering other appliances, I have white ones, which I like, but when my kids were little I used magnets to put up their artwork, and the magnets left marks on the fridge that won’t come out, it’s like it discolored that area, so just be careful if you decide to go that route.

    Good luck on your baby’s “birth” day. My little brother an I were born on the same day 8 years apart, it was actually kinda neat. :-)

  2. Some of the home improvements we wouldn’t repeat are: the ice/water on the outside of the fridge – I agree with you it’s ugly and the filters for the water are way expensive and the ice started tasting bad so we now buy bagged ice! Also the mixed flooring, next house wood and tile throughout. But I do love our sliding door reno – we had it trimmed out and I would do all my windows if money permitted.
    Did you win the Bob Villa penny counter challenge?

  3. Here is the panacea for ALWAYS NEW LOOKING stainless appliances: soft beeswax. Google Howard Feed-n-Wax Wood Polish and Cnditioner. It’s poly and grainy (like thick sugarizes honey). You put it on a soft microfiber cloth and go to town on your stainless steel. Voila! No streaks, no fingerprint and no need to clean it with anyhing else beforehand. I use it on all my stainless appliances and collect complements by dozens. This product is panacea. And totally natural (dog licks it off because it smells so yummy). If you can’t find it, I will send you a bottle as a baby gift! I honestly mean it. Because I am stocked up and last year gave it out as Christmas gifts to my girlfriends. Yup. And they still thank me! I guarantee you, you will fall in love with stainless steel again!!

    1. Marina, I just have to tell you that I bought this a while ago and just used it today. It works SO WELL! My appliances look brand new, it got off all the stains that nothing else would (I even hired a maid once – the only time in my life – and she couldn’t get them clean either.) Thank you for sharing, I’ll be using this stuff for life!

  4. So hard waiting for that baby! Best of luck to you. I think you are on the right track with your never agains. Live and learn. If you had to have a deck, I think the newer composites are best for no maintenance. Also, we learned with baseboard that if we used primed 1 x 6 and then used a base cap on top that we got the look we wanted without the expense and money. We also found that there are places that are 1/2 the price of big box stores for moldings. Check around at lumber yards.
    I agree about the stainless. Some manufacturers are starting to make some nicer appliances in white. For awhile if you wanted white, you could not find anything nice. Look into the induction range too. Easy to clean. Also, I think a soft water system is worth the money. Everything, clothes, sinks, tubs, etc. look nicer and last longer with soft water. MDF is not good unless you are absolutely sure no water will ever come into contact with it. We learned that lesson too!
    OXO has ice cube trays that cover so you can get them to the fridge without spilling water. No ice and water in door, and one less thing to go out. Check out the Fisher-Paykel white fridge, I think it looks very nice. Reverse osmosis water at sink with a filler from restaurant supply place is a nice thing to have.

  5. I rarely leave comments (nothing personal, 100% laziness on my part!), but I had to leave a comment on this one. What a great post! I really love that the theme isn’t necessarily “things you did wrong”, but rather “things you did at the time that are good for this house but not a forever house”. I have a big list like that for my next home! The home we’re in now we bought when we were on a tighter budget so we DIY’ed a lot… and I’m so pleased with ourselves because we really made an ugly 70’s house into a warm & inviting home… but gosh there is a LOT I won’t do in my next house! Things I won’t do: paint dark-stained glossy wood trim (I think I painted 4+ coats of white paint and it chips off like crazy. Next time I’d just clean the wood really well and embrace it), the cheap but good looking Ikea pendant above our dining table that puts off NO light, painting glossy wood paneling with water based primer instead of oil (yeah… chips…), and painting the kitchen yellow (found out I’m not a fan of yellow! haha). Anyway, live and learn! :)

    1. No, I have green walls in living room. My two sofas are brown, carpet tan. My art work,pillows and accessories are many shades of brown, blue, aqua, green, a little pink. In the fall I change a few things to brick, tan, black, pumpkin. Very colorful and easy to work with ! Don’t be afraid of colors.

  6. We’re in our forever house now, and it’s a completely different feeling. Renovating without worrying about resale is liberating, and I find I make very different choices. It’s fabulous!

    We did the painted tile in our last house, and while it’s fine as a temporary fix, it’s not something I’d do in a permanent house. I am also battling against rock borders put in by previous owners. They’re everywhere, but sometimes I don’t know they’re there until I run over them with the lawnmower! So awful.

    I would say my lessons aren’t so much what I wouldn’t do, but what I wouldn’t DIY. I want to replace the trim upstairs, but I find it challenging to be as precise as I need to in trim carpentry, so I’ll be hiring that out. I’ll also probably hire out any big tiling jobs in the future. Oh, just thought of one. I won’t be spray painting hardware (door knobs, cabinet pulls). They just didn’t hold up for me.

  7. I have some advice for your green walls (which are very much like my green walls). I bought some beautiful throw cushions to add accent colors. They are actually patio cushions so are quite durable; beige background with bright red, yellow and green florals. Then I picked up the red and yellow from those and added throws, plant pots, etc. It really does liven up the space and makes that green become almost a neutral. Hope this is encouraging for you.

  8. Interesting post. I’ve definitely done some DIYs that I wouldn’t necessarily repeat. I made a plywood counter to go on top of the front-load washer and dryer, and I painted and stenciled it. Then I hated it. It just didn’t look right. Railroad ties around the edges of the garden beds – they were okay, and definitely neater than what was there before, but so squared off. Hard then to make an inviting yard with areas for different functions, with all these straight edges everywhere. We made a giant trunk to go outside the door for all our recycling. (Recycling is huge here, we have to sort it into categories and it only gets collected every two weeks, so a big space commitment.) The trunk is not a bad idea, but ours is too big and clunky, and just not quite well-enough made. Right now I kind of hate it. Oh, and the tin shed. We got a cheap tin shed and it’s awful! Not even tall enough to comfortably walk around in. Can’t put anything on the walls so it’s a disorganized mess! I hate it. We did two kitchen remodels in our last house. The first was mostly DIY to get it half-decent to put the house up for sale. All that work and the results looked okay, but nothing lasted. The second remodel (to try and sell again, which we finally did, thank heavens) we had professionally and much more expensively done. So much better! Oh, and we cheaped out on the stairs by piecing together leftover hardwood instead of buying bullnoses or whatever they are called. Then it sucked, so live and learn. I ordered the stencil to do the backs of the stairs (risers?), then had to paint it all out before we sold, as it was too “individual”. Oh yeah, I remember another big one: we got counters in the kitchen that were laminate, but a photo (somehow?) of granite. The counters were okay, but we picked a way-too dramatic granite photo, and it wound up so busy that, like your living room, we couldn’t decorate around it. It had to be the center of attention, all the time, and was definitely not a choice I would make again.

  9. We’ve been in ours home for 28 years an have been slowly remodeling every square inch of our modest 1974 home. In the past 3 years we remodeled 2 small bathrooms an gutted our kitchen. In the master bath we have two shower heads an love it!!! Both bathrooms have tile which we love. In the kitchen I finally got my under mount white kohller farmhouse sink, again LOVE. An last, the entire home no longer has carpet. We have hardwood floors that are so easy to care for. Next on our list is recessed lighting in our living room. My advice? Get what you want in your home NOW while the kids are little, as it’s harder to afford once they’re college- bound! Good luck to you an your precious family:)
    Ps. I love your blog!!

  10. I love this post! Thanks so much for the MDF tip – my husband has to be talked into real pine quarter-round after nearly two years with nothing. It’s so hard to be patient to wait for the Right Thing/Way for each project!

    Some never-agains I inherited and some I committed: Colorful slate floors in the kitchen chip, are so uneven bare feet stub toes, and are impossible to keep clean. No intense red walls. No wallpaper ever again. No heavily patterned granite or pseudo-granite countertops – I can’t see that they’re crumb-covered. No dark cabinets. MORE LIGHTING. No magnetic spice boxes on the side of the fridge that drop off onto the cat’s head while he’s eating. No living without a recliner (recovering from surgery is hard on back muscles with only lying and sitting, which may not be very comfortable either). Consider midnight nausea routes. It’s probably cheaper to buy new lamps of the right size/color and shade than to make shades from scratch and paint the tarnished brass ones.

    Some wins with this still-new-to-us forever farmhouse: Fix the master bath before you move in (the subfloor’s probably rotted somewhere anyway.) Heart pine paneling CAN actually be wonderful, if it’s in good shape – we hung floor-to-ceiling white drapes with a modern B/W print on branches gathered from the woods, splurged on a sputnik lamp that arches over the sofas, framed big photo prints of the dogs in the green woods, and hung an ethnic rug on the wall. If you can afford it, consider as much space for your hobbies as your children – I’d never had my own dedicated workroom before, and the dogs have a room, and it helps. so. much. We’ll have to build my husband a barn office!

  11. We have owned and lived in our ‘forever’ house 30 years now. I can tell you I would take a wood deck over the cement deck any day. After 30 years the cement looks ‘rough’ to me. Like someone forgot it. We have a nice patio cover, a nice set of furniture, and I keep an indoor/outdoor rug on the floor. It just looks like someone ‘forgot’ to finish a floor. If I could do with out my husband having a heart attack at spending the ‘extra’ money on something no one but we see, I would use that new composite wood deck material and make a wood deck.
    Think about having some kind of finish done when your cement patio is pored. I wish we had.

  12. Also, just to let you know you are doing the right thing with the wood floors. I am going to tell you they HOLD UP. Yes, we have refinished them a couple of times in 30 years, but let me tell you something about MY house that I bet YOU don’t have and never will. For more than 25 years now I have run a child care business out of my home. So that is a lot of ‘foot’ traffic there. I know you have children, but I am talking 8-10 kids a day for 25 years. Add to that their parents in and out every day….it adds up. I also am the proud “mother” of 6 dogs. Four of our dogs are rescue dogs but it looks like they are going to be ‘forever’ dogs as they are older and no one seems to want to adopt them. Basset hounds and doxies are hard on floors.

    1. Omg do they hold up! We bought a 92 year old house that still has the original wood floors and they are STILL in fantastic shape! A few scratches, most likely from when it was briefly a rental, but 95 years and the floors haven’t been replaced. Can NEVER say that about carpet!

  13. I LOVED this post. This is why (IMHO) you’re one of the best DIY bloggers around. We don’t plan on having a forever house for quite some time (if at all), but living in 8 houses over the past 10 years has allowed us to really refine what we like/don’t like. For example, our current place is 100% hardwood and I do not like it at all. With a dog and two young kids, I feel like I am constantly sweeping/vacuuming. I never thought I would long for a couple of wall-to-wall carpeted rooms. Haha.

  14. We’ve really only done renovating in the kitchen, but there’s lots that we did because of budget that I wouldn’t do again. Paper bag flooring – when all the tutorials say don’t do it in a high traffic area, like the kitchen – don’t do it in a high traffic area like the kitchen! They looked so beautiful, and were so much work, and now they look absolutely terrible and are peeling off all over the place. Another thing I wouldn’t do is cut corners. I put in real wood counters, but didn’t attach the boards properly to the cabinets or each other. So there are huge gaps running all down my beautiful counters, and they have to be fixed somehow, or taken out and completely redone.

    I’m sure I’ll have lots more to add once we get around to redoing the bathrooms. They need lots of work and we are on a tight budget. We’ll see what mistakes we come up with! :)

  15. Your number one is my number one regret also!!! I love that they’re nice and wide but I, like you, hate that rough top edge!! And I’m afraid no matter how many times it’s painted it will just continue to soak up the paint. Ugh! I don’t look forward to ever changing them all out. :(

  16. Our living room walls are red (a nice tone, not bright red). We love color and everyone who enters compliments us. The red paint does not go to the ceiling. We brought the white down from the ceiling to about one foot on the walls with a white trim between the colors. I think that makes all the difference and keeps the room from feeling like it has too much color. Actually it makes our big living room very cozy! Our home was built in the 1950’s and we’ve (husband) done a ton of renos in it. I personally don’t care for the very modern homes–they lack character. All the renos you’ve done in your house gives it your personality and makes it a home! Now go and relax so you can have that baby!! :)
    P.S. My daughter’s birthday is on Sunday too (39)! Happy Birthday to Elijah!!

  17. Hey! I get you on ALL those ‘mistakes’. I HATE not having good lighting anywhere in the house, let alone in the bathroom. Who wants to look like Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’…… We live and learn. Am I right?
    As to bubba…well.. my third had the impudence to be 17 days LATE! Gah! I HOPE that doesn’t happen to you! (..and yes, my dates were correct!) As my gynie said, “Babies do what babies do, and we just gotta roll with them!” Easy for HIM to say! Grrrrrrr.
    I do hope bubby does the right thing and at least pop out in a civil way either Saturday or Monday!
    Sending you lots of great Aussie love!

  18. I rarely comment, but I must thank you for this thoughtful list. And it isn’t just a list, but the reasons why you wouldn’t choose to do it again. So very helpful! Thank you!

  19. Ha, are we the same person? I have made almost every mistake you have listed here as well. The wall color, the rocks, the mismatched floors, stainless steel appliances and similar to the baseboard issue using unprimed pine for baseboard or other trim sucks up almost as much paint as mdf and looks sooo uneven unless you do 8-9 coats of paint. Sigh. I wish I had found your blog sooner!

    ps- prim rose oil is a natural way to give your beautiful baby the old “eviction notice.” My son would have stayed in there forever too, I understand how you feel!

  20. Ashley! My daughter has yet to “pop” out my grandbaby boy either (also due on March 5th) but as this is her first baby, that is not really a surprise. I am thinking about you BOTH and praying that your baby and my daughter’s baby boy “cook perfectly” and that all goes smoothly! So exciting about the property and house plans… so glad you have fun stuff to distract you right now!

  21. We are in our forever house now and it needs a complete reno. We knew it was liveable when we bought it, but not a single room would go untouched. We pulled out all the carpets in every room to reveal the original hardwood floors. Refinishing hardwood floors is NOT something I will ever do again! We did a terrible job and now we need to pay to have them done anyway. So far, that is the only thing I wouldnt undertake again. Some of the choices I made in building our first home I know I wouldnt do again, like, dark kitchen cabinets, even with vaulted ceilings and open floorplan it made thing just seem dark, and in that space, dark wasnt what we wanted. Also in the kitchen was the black countertops. They were a laminate with a granite speckled pattern which really looked nice. We were on a tight budget so granite was just out of the question for us at the time, but what I didnt like was the color, you could never see when there were crumbs or spills, (and with two teenagers and a messy hubby, it was all the time) until you set something in it. I felt like they were always dirty. I stayed in an apartment with white countertops and loved it cause I could always see a droplet of tomato sause and could clean it up immediately, so in this kitchen redo, light colored counters.

    Good luck with your new home and baby.

  22. great post! we’ve been in our home for 6 years now & once we are finished, every inch will have be either new or fixed up. First thing, we have hard floors throughout & I would have the main living room be carpet. We have a nice rug but with kids, someone is always on the ground & they wrestle with dad, I would love a nice comfy carpet. The wood is just not comfy to lay down on, even with a rug. And all the hard surfaces definitely made my babies tougher! I have wood in my dining room & HATE it. I have put so many different scuff pads on the bottom of my chairs & they still have scratched up my floors. They have amazing tiles now that match wood, when I replace my tile in my kitchen, that will be going in! Tile in a kitchen is so much nicer. Also, make sure you have clearance between your outer doors & floors to put rugs down without them catching. Rugs will help catch that dust & dirt as the kids run in 50x a day. Because with hard surfaces you have to sweep a LOT. So, on that note. In all seriousness, take a plastic bag with dirt from your new place in i, to the store with you. Get something that the dirt blends in with (not 100% because you still want to know you have it clean) but enough that when you haven’t had time to sweep and someone stops by, the floors don’t look dirty! Because someone always stops by on the days nothing gets done! :)
    Get the fold down windows, the kind you can clean from the inside. I promise they are worth every penny!
    I have lots more I would have done differently & we are slowly redoing that stuff too. But these are my biggest.
    Oh! Get good doors! We got the cheapy interior doors to save money & the hinge screws have been ripped out three times on our entry closet because our children are incapable of closing it properly. Get the midgrade at least. :)

  23. How INTERESTING. Really great post, I feel like I really learned something. So often, blogs present a project as perfect, and there is no follow-up to know whether it really worked out. It’s refreshing to see one that is an honest assessment so that we won’t repeat the same mistakes. THANK YOU!!

  24. I couldn’t agree more with you on the vessel sinks! We just purchased a new home in July that has one of these sinks and originally I was super excited but I was dying to get one when they first came out. People warned me that they were obnoxious and just end up splashing water every where and boy were they right?? I despise this sink now! Great post! We live and learn, right?

  25. White vinegar and water 50/50 is a great way to get rid of hard water stains! I will use a magic eraser to scrub it first, then spray with solution of vinegar. If you have a very stubborn spot, make a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Put it on and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. If you scrub, go lightly and in the direction of your stainless steel. You may have to rinse and repeat, but after the hard water stain is gone, use a stainless steel spray… Zep or Weiman are good and can be purchased at the big box hardware stores or on Amazon. I was determined never to have stainless steel appliances again either, but the others just start out looking dated. I’ve learned to only touch the handle…. now if I can only get husband to learn!

    Good luck with your delivery and thanks for the great tips!

  26. Great post! I’ve never commented here before, but this was such a helpful post I just wanted to say thanks. I echo what some of the others said in that it is so much better when a blogger lets us know how the projects hold up over time. Great job!
    I had marks on my stainless steel that wouldn’t come off with my usual methods, then I read online to try olive oil (or baby oil) on a soft cloth/paper towel which worked beautifully.
    I loved reading all of the other comments–they were so insightful. Fantastic post!
    P.S. Hang in there! Hope the delivery goes wonderfully.

  27. One of my favorite posts ever! I totally agree on the vessel sinks. Too much surface to clean and I know I would drop something and chip them. I’ve never been a fan of stainless steel and used green glass appliances in our kitchen remodel in 2006. I love, love, love your wood countertops and agree not around the sink. So many lessons learned from our “temporary” homes. My forever house is a year away, and I won’t use any laminated flooring, anything Mdf, and all my facets will be 8″ on center with levers. All closets will have florescents over the door on the inside, and the master bedroom will have four gang electrical boxes on each side of the bed. I’ve had decks on three houses and now have a bluestone patio that I love. There is just so much to learn from house to house. Will we ever get it right?..

  28. I like stainless appliances pretty well, but I will pass on any fridge that has an in door ice and water dispenser! My parents had one (in black) when they finally replaced the 1985 avocado fridge. I learnt quickly that they only spell trouble for cleaning and functionality. Annoyingly my husband wants one badly, but we just bought a house that doesn’t have this “amenity.” :D

    For us two dishwashers would be ridiculous since one load a day is perfect, but I expect that would change if we had a few kids. A bunch of dishwasher drawes would be cool if they didn’t cost so much.

  29. Another great post! Some of the things on this list, I had to stifle a “heck yes!” (since I’m reading this at work), because I whole-heartedly agree. In my last home I had a very similar shade of your green in my living room as well, and it was so hard to decorate around! I also ended up with a lot of browns and ivories in that room and found it so limiting. My new living room is painted BM’s Moonshine and I’m really digging it so far. It’s got a hint of green to it in certain light, but is totally neutral.
    I have a suggestion for your stainless steel dilemma. We went with GE’s new Slate line and LOVE it. I cannot even believe how much we love it. It’s got a similar feel to stainless steel but no fingerprints or constant cleaning! I cannot recommend it enough.
    I groaned a little at a few things because I just put the same things in my new house am already doubting them. I have the same galvanized steel barn light in my half bath, and you’re right – the lighting is horrible, especially in a bathroom. I also put a vessel sink in one of the bathrooms, and am not really as into it as I thought I would be. It’s harder to clean than an undermount and takes up more counter space.
    I majorly groaned at the raw MDF inclusion. We used this for all of our window buildouts since it’s so much cheaper then pine, and grouted the edges ourselves. Everything you said is true – not smooth, not durable, and a major paint sponge. How I wish this post had existed 4 months ago!!!! Damn raw MDF.

  30. I agree with all except the green wall issue. The trick is to think of green as your neutral, not the tans and browns. Seriously, green can work with just about any other color. Green is the color of nature! Don’t be afraid to add lots of bright pops of blue, yellow, pink, orange, etc. Anything goes with green! Can you tell I love green? ;)

  31. Stamped concrete patio… never again. Way too expensive, cracks, has to be sealed and is constantly filthy. We spent $8k on our 15ft x 32ft patio. My husband wanted the concrete, I wanted pavers. I gave in and now even he regrets our decision and says we should have done pavers. All concrete cracks over time, that’s a given, even here in temperate Silicon Valley, CA But with pavers, if one gets damaged, it can be replaced, they don’t crack and can be re-leveled if the ground settles.

    Best of luck with the new baby! Cannot wait to see who this little person turns out to be.


    1. I would love to have a new stamped concrete patio. After reading your comment I was a little more skeptical. I will have to look more into it. Thanks for your advice.

  32. Prefinished bamboo floors… HATE THEM. And all our new trip is installed over so replacing them will require also replacing all our trim. We don’t like all the tiny grooves in between every. Single. Board!! Dirt city.

  33. We are going on the 10th year in our farmhouse I designed. I worked on the plans and details for the 5 years we took to pay off our acreage before building. so luckily, almost no regrets or “wish I had…..”.
    We put 5″ wide red oak flooring throughout (yes bathrooms, mud room, and laundry room). The oak was not pre-finished. With pre-finished flooring it is hard to fix spots. We have a central vacuum system which I love. Makes it very easy to keep clean.
    One thing I would change is the window above my kitchen sink. I have since seen windows above sinks that have the ledge just barely above or at the countertop. Wonderful light and if you have a view, it just enhances it. Would love to lower mine.
    Good luck with your design

  34. Thank YOU! Thank you for telling it like it really is. I am still a renter so I feel like now is the time to learn what not to do. I research before I tackle projects and I come across way too many that I feel skeptical about. I think, “Sure it looks great, but how does it really function? How do they clean that thing? What about stains?” So thanks for being candid and honest about the downfalls of DIY. Also, what is with stainless steel? My sister warned me long ago about what a pain it is. She gets her appliances with the “stainless steel look” minus the actual stainless steel. Apparently, they are a lot less fussy.

  35. I have newly discovered you blog and love it! I am wondering though…I saw that you didn’t have good results with the mdf you used as trim but you recently used mdf for your floating shelves in the kitchen. How are those shelves holding up? Did you treat them differently than the trim? Thanks!

  36. I love your house! There are some things you might need to fix but even with them you home is lovely! I really like the kitchen and the stainless steel appliances. I also want to have my appliances from stainless steel. I heard that are easier to clean and they look beautiful. We are making a renovation of the house we bought and I have to think of many things that we have to change. After we clean up the place good we will start with making the bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms and so on! Thanks for sharing these home improvement projects. I have new fresh ideas. :)

  37. Awesome article. The great thing about making mistakes is that it create opportunities for us to learn from them. This post is a excellent representation of this point. Stainless steel is a pain. It looks gorgeous if no one uses/touches it. It took a day after ours arriving before it had stains on it. Never again. Thanks for sharing!

  38. I’m obviously late to the party but I just wanted to comment on the stainless steel appliances. I love the look but we were lucky enough when we got ours to find them in “clean steel” which has the look without the fingerprints. It was less expensive, too!

  39. Wow, great post! Home improvement projects can certainly become stressful, but the overall new look is always worth it. Thanks for sharing!

  40. I love green too. I don’t see a problem with having this colour on the walls. Unless you want everything to be neutral. I have never been too worried about having anything matching because I love bold and dramatic and *hate* neutrals. By having nothing matching, it all matches and you end up with an eclectic unique look.

  41. Don’t be afraid of color! Lemme give you some quick pointers on color theory:

    Let’s use your living room as an example. You selected a pale, muted sage green. It’s actually a great choice because it’s a relaxing color that can be found in nature, which actually makes it a little easier to decorate with. All sorts of florals would look fantastic against the leafy green of the walls. You can actually treat that sage green like a neutral, the way stylists often treat demin and metallics as secondary neutrals.

    The opposite of green is red. Rich berry red accessories against that organic green would be super flattering in summer and autumn, punctuated by little pops of orange and yellow. Green neighbors yellow and blue. White and yellow will feel fresh and invigorating beside the brown and the green for spring, and a few touches of indigo can transition your decor nicely into summer. For winter, you could either utilize white, silver, and indigo for an urbane spin on the holidays, or go for a traditional red and gold. Notice how you can combine the same colors in different ways to get multiple looks using the same accessories? You can basically redecorate your house on the cheap for every season and occasion just by rotating your curtains, blankets, throws, rugs, pillows, vases, flowers, lamps, candles, etc. here and there every so often. Ten bucks here, twenty bucks there at Ross and Marshall’s, and you’re good!

    The trick is playing with tonality. You can juxtapose pale against dark and bright against muted for balance and interest or concentrate all your colors to the same end of the spectrum You could even go all in and opt for a monochrome palette by using different gradients of a single color. Green is a particularly nice color for that!

    So don’t chalk the green walls up as a mistake. Ya got personality and so does that house! Keep being daring with color.

    1. The big home improvement stores carry a variety of inexpensive styles and all you need to do is stick them in the ground. Not only are they functional – lighting your way at night – but they provide ornamentation as well.

  42. Using MDF for baseboards is actually a solid idea but I would only use it for the flat portion of the base and then use an off the shelf “base cap” (like a #163 – available even at Home Depot) made of pine to top it off. Super cheap to put in even very tall, subtantial base mouldings (7″ – 8″) and the cut MDF that usually attracts dirt isn’t exposed. MDF paints up beautifully and the face is denser than pine or other soft woods so it shouldn’t get dented up as badly. If you do get a gouge an auto body filler like Bondo is just the stuff to affect a repair.

    Search around for a vendor, I have a supplier nearby who sells the #163 for $.35/lf. I recently put in a 7″ two part base like this for less than $.85/lf.


    One way I use to treat cut MDF to make it smooth for painting is to brush on a solution of 2 parts water to 1 part wood glue. After it dries the edge becomes easy to sand and won’t swell again when you apply your finish. I’ve heard of people using shellac instead of the water/glue solution but that doesn’t seem to work as well for me.

  43. I was very pleased to find this website. I enjoyed every little bit of it and I have bookmarked your website to check out the new stuff in the future. Keep posting such great blogs in the future as well:)

  44. Thanks to this website for bringing comprehensive information to the audience and adding new things to the Internet. Hope to get more of this line of information in future as well.

  45. Nice Blog!! All 11 points you have shared is very elaborative and informative. Thanks a lot for sharing such a great piece of knowledge with us…

  46. This is the best article.. Thanks for sharing an informative and comprehensive article with us.. Keep up the good work..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *